Art, Animation & Film Analysis by James Chiang - RSS Feed

James Chiang's Weekly Blog for Creative Insight & Inspiration

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To Practice vs A Practice

“Everything is practice.” — Pelé, Soccer Player. In our heavily cerebral and achievement-oriented culture we often confuse what we mean by practice. In the modern sense, to practice typically means to carry out or perform a task regularly or repeatedly for the purpose of skill acquisition or improvement. A practice on the other hand, is… Continue reading...

Student Showcase 2

In this week’s student showcase I want to demonstrate the power of simplicity. And to do this, I specifically wanted to discuss the usefulness of the simple exercises that involve walking or running. All the artists that work with me start with walks, runs, jumps and sitting shots. It’s a test of their technical, graphic… Continue reading →

The Necessity of Art

Today, I wish to share some words from a page out of Robert Henri’s magnum opus, The Art Spirit (page 177 in case you’re curious). In this incessant age of anxiety — where time feels too fast, our activities never so empty and meaningless, and loneliness never very far away despite a plethora of distractions… Continue reading →

Top 25

A very kind person recently notified me that this humble little blog has been selected as one of the Top 25 Animation Blogs on the internet. It’s a gently bewildering achievement especially given the complete lack of promotion, marketing or social media of any kind here. None the less, I’m honored to be chosen in… Continue reading →

Default Settings

Understanding defaults is important. Anyone who works with technology knows that the computer’s default setting is zero, where all things are flat and neutral. But when it comes to life and understanding ourselves, we tend to forget about our default setting and, unfortunately, it isn’t neutral. Here’s the terrible truth: the default setting of our…...

Favorite Films: Part 12 — why so serious?

These days, both life and art seem far too serious. And worst of all, it’s serious in all the wrong places. In our society, all our attention is on rushed accumulation (money, information, social approval) and not on living attentively and joyfully each day. In the art of movies, both live action and animated, we’re… Continue reading →


foundation (definition of): the lowest load-bearing part of a building, typically below ground level. an underlying basis or principle. As they say, the foundations are everything. The core fundamentals of any craft start with the foundational bedrock of principles and skills that everything else is built upon. Unfortunately, most people, in almost...

Deep-Time Thinking

“We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it is forever.” ― Carl Sagan, Scientist The concept of deep-time thinking borrows heavily from the scientific and historic way of looking at the world and our existence. It goes beyond thinking about the everyday or even the next decade. It’s looking extremely long term… Continue reading →

Student Showcase 1

Some people see things as they are and say why?  I dream things that never were and say, why not? — George Bernard Shaw, Playwright As some of you know, I’ve been teaching/consulting animation artists for over a decade. Many have gone on to solid careers. Starting today, and hopefully on a continual basis, I’ll… Continue reading →

learn by Doing

Any fool can know. The point is to understand. ― Albert Einstein, Scientist There is, ultimately, only one way to learn and that is by doing. We can accumulate as much knowledge or technique as we can, and have them beautifully and clearly explained to us (the job of the teacher), but if we don’t actually… Continue reading →

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